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Winter is Coming for shows like Game of Thrones in Brazil

Winter has not just started in the southern hemisphere but it might also start soon for millions of Brazilian TV viewers. One piece of regulation might soon be responsible for shows such as Game of Thrones and sports events such as the UEFA Champions League disappearing from our TV screens. If politics don’t act quickly we might jeopardize Brazil’s long-term competitiveness in digital services.

Digital, media, and telecommunications markets converge all over the world. There is no clear barrier anymore between these sectors, but a unique converged market has formed. Players in this market are more diversified and bigger in market size than previously and the competition is completely different from the past.  

New operators are growing thanks to mergers and regulators have to have a different approach on that point.

The Brazilian example, in contrast, shows that regulation is holding the digital single market back, and significantly limiting the further development of the “market of the future”, as the digital market is often labeled.

As in other sectors of the economy, Brazil has to have the target to create a single digital market, in which operators can integrate content and channels in order to provide better and more comprehensive media services to their customers. This very needed necessity is currently legally not possible in Brazil.

In particular one piece of legislation from  2011 mergers between telecommunications companies and audiovisual content distribution and licensing companies in the PayTV market.

This article is considered anachronistic even by the President of Brazil’s telecommunications regulator ANATEL “because it is going against the convergence that it is developing in the new digital ecosystem”.

The regulation is not only affecting an important opportunity for Brazil, that being the merger between AT&T and Time Warner, but it also affects the possibility of the country to continue to attract investors, leading to a faster and development of the digital and more services provided to consumers.

A 21st century digital ecosystem is considered a market where all the players of the digital arena are able to have  fair competition, thanks also at the development of the 4G and 5G connections.

The Brazilian mobile data market is developing very well and 4G technology is widely adopted. This helps to facilitate the change of the market with more than 130 million users of mobile high speed internet connections

The arrival of 5G in the next few years will ignite an even faster  vertical integration between different sectors as it was told by Leonardo de Morais, President of ANATEL.

It is an anachronistic idea that the market could be segmented by subcategories such as phone calls, advertisement, or content as in the past.  The role of the authorities has to change due to this new reality. Fair competition has to be intended not only in a classic view, but also between operators in different sectors that are now competing directly: a classical example is competition between Over the Top (as Amazon Video or Netflix) and PayTV providers.

Being attractive to foreign investments, is highly important in a global industry such as  the digital and media markets, and a key element for the success of the development of new services for consumers.

A 21st century digital ecosystem in Brazil is only possible if the ban of vertical integration is repealed. Otherwise consumers will lose by either having less TV channels or less content available on PayTV.

By Fred Roeder, Managing Director of the Consumer Choice Center, Professor Andrea Giuricin, and Andre Freo Gerente de Operações of CESCO. Both have published a policy note on this issue as well that can be found at www.chegadebarreiras.org

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Ένας επιπλέον «αεροπορικός» φόρος θα έπληττε τις κοινωνικά ευάλωτες τάξεις

Ένας ευρωπαϊκός αεροπορικός φόρος στους επιβάτες, θα έπληττε την κινητικότητα των πιο «κοινωνικά ευάλωτων» καταναλωτών, υποστηρίζει, το «Τhe Consumer Choice Center», καθώς εναντιώνεται στις προτάσεις της Ολλανδίας για φόρο στα εισιτήρια, στα 7 ευρώ στην Ευρωπαϊκή Ένωση.

Οι υπουργοί της ΕΕ πέρασαν δύο ημέρες συζητώντας προτάσεις για περιβαλλοντικό φόρο επί των αερομεταφορών σε συνάντηση την περασμένη εβδομάδα. Στόχος τους είναι να παρουσιάσουν ένα νέο φορολογικό σχέδιο για τη νέα Ευρωπαϊκή Επιτροπή το φθινόπωρο.

Σκοπός είναι να περιοριστούν οι πτήσεις προκειμένου να μειωθούν οι εκπομπές του διοξειδίου  του άνθρακα.

Ο Fred Roeder, διευθύνων σύμβουλος του,The Consumer Choice Center, δήλωσε:

«Τα αεροπορικά ταξίδια είναι σημαντικά φθηνότερα τις τελευταίες δεκαετίες. Αυτό έχει εκδημοκρατίσει τις μεταφορές, στο βαθμό που οι καταναλωτές χαμηλού εισοδήματος έχουν σχεδόν την ίδια ικανότητα να ταξιδεύουν στο εξωτερικό ως μισθωτοί μεσαίας τάξης, αλλά και υψηλής.

Η Ολλανδία πρότεινει μια νέα εισφορά ύψους 7 ευρώ ανά επιβάτη και ανά τμήμα πτήσης στην Ευρωπαϊκή Ένωση.

«Αυτό μπορεί να μην είναι μεγάλο ποσό σε ορισμένες βόρειες χώρες όπως τη Σουηδία ,αλλά στην Κεντρική και Ανατολική Ευρώπη, αυτό θα αποτελούσε σημαντική αύξηση των τιμών».

Συνέχισε: 

«Τα νησιωτικά κράτη όπως η Μάλτα, η Κύπρος και τμήματα της Ισπανίας και της Ελλάδας θα έχουν σοβαρό αντίκτυπο στην οικονομία τους.

Ο Roeder δήλωσε: «Υπάρχουν περιβαλλοντικές προκλήσεις που πρέπει να ξεπεραστούν, αλλά δεν μπορούν να καταπολεμηθούν απλά λέγοντας στους καταναλωτές να μένουν στο σπίτι τους. Τα νέα μοντέλα αεροσκαφών με πιο αποδοτικούς κινητήρες θα είναι διαθέσιμα τα επόμενα χρόνια.

Τέλος, αναφέρεται ότι η Iata αναφέρει ότι οι κυβερνήσεις θα πρέπει να ενθαρρύνουν τις νέες τεχνολογίες και τα αειφόρα καύσιμα για την αεροπορία, προκειμένου να μειώσουν τις εκπομπές διοξειδίου του άνθρακα στους αερομεταφορές, αντί να επιβάλλουν περιβαλλοντικούς φόρους.

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EU-wide air tax would ‘hit mobility of the socially vulnerable’

An EU-wide passenger tax would hit the mobility of the most “socially vulnerable” consumers, it is being claimed.

Advocacy group The Consumer Choice Center attacked proposals put forward by the Netherlands for €7 ticket tax.

EU ministers spent two days debating proposals for an environmental tax on aviation at a meeting last week.

They aim to present an aviation tax plan to the new European Commission this autumn.

The goal is to curb flights in order to reduce carbon emissions.

Fred Roeder, managing director of the Consumer Choice Center, said: “Air travel has got considerably cheaper throughout the past decades. This has democratised transportation, to the extent that low-income consumers have nearly the same ability to travel abroad as middle-class or high-income earners.

“The Netherlands has suggested a new levy of €7 per passenger per flight segment in the European Union.

“This might not be a lot in some northern countries such as Sweden – which supports the proposal – but in central and eastern Europe, this would constitute a considerable price increase.”

He added: “Other models, such as taxing fuel, would also result in higher ticket prices.

“No matter if the EU ends up with taxing passengers directly or taxing them indirectly through taxes on jet fuel, it will hurt mobility for the most socially vulnerable Europeans.

“Island nations such as Malta, Cyprus, and parts of Spain and Greece will also be hurt significantly as both tourism and commerce will get more expensive.”

Roeder said: “There are environmental challenges to overcome, but they cannot be combated by simply telling consumers to stay home. New aircraft models with more efficient engines will become available in the coming years. Rushing policy decisions won’t get us anywhere.”

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EU-US Talks On 5G Network Infrastructure Is Good News For Consumers

Brussels, BE – Yesterday, the EU-U.S. Justice and Home Affairs Ministerial had a meeting in Brussels during which among other topics participants recognised that the deployment of 5G network infrastructure needs to be addressed as a matter of priority, as it might pose significant security risks.

The European Union and the United States committed to further pursue their exchanges on assessing and managing 5G and supply chain security risks through existing channels, including the Justice and Home Affairs meetings.

Luca Bertoletti, European Affairs Manager at the Consumer Choice Center, praised this development and said that it was an important step towards safeguarding consumer privacy in Europe and the U.S.

“Although, this is just the start, much more needs to be done to arrive at common smart regulations for 5G technology. Blunt instruments like total bans based on country of origin should be seen as measures of last resort. But the privacy of consumers and protecting them from vulnerabilities and backdoors needs to be paramount when rolling out 5G,” said Bertoletti.

“Using liability rules for operators and resellers of software and devices that expose consumers to the risk of malicious and illegal interference should be taken into account at the next meeting. Additionally, we believe that the U.S. should consider implementing the EU’s “Cybersecurity Act” into its legislation on 5G. Regulatory alignment is what will better serve the interests of consumers in the two biggest economies of the world.

“We hope to see more developments in the coming months on this issue and we encourage the two bodies to arrive at the next meeting in the second half of the year with a draft common policy to safeguard consumers’ privacy and at the same time boost innovation,” concludes Bertoletti.

The Consumer Choice Center published a policy note on Consumer Privacy in the Age of 5G that can be found here.


The Consumer Choice Center is the consumer advocacy group supporting lifestyle freedom, innovation, privacy, science, and consumer choice. The main policy areas we focus on are digital, mobility, lifestyle & consumer goods, and health & science.

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Pourquoi Libra est critiquée avant même son lancement ?

Au consommateur de décider si c’est un bon système ou pas ?

Du côté des consommateurs, Consumer Choice Center, équivalent de Que-Choisir à travers le monde, regrette que les législateurs réclament la suspension du projet : « Contrôler la réglementation sur Internet et les sociétés financières est important, mais la mentalité de“légiférer d’abord, d’innover plus tard”, qui est apparue en réponse à Libra, devrait mettre tous les internautes en pause. Si chaque nouvelle innovation Internet est désormais soumise à l’approbation du Congrès, ce serait un dangereux précédent pour l’avenir du choix du consommateur en ligne », a déclaré Yaël Ossowski, dirigeant de cette association de défense du consommateur. Les consommateurs ont le droit de choisir s’ils souhaitent utiliser des crypto-monnaies ou des réseaux sociaux, et sont conscients des risques et des avantages considérables qui en découlent. Les utilisateurs recherchent une alternative et s’intéressent aux nouveaux outils numériques en ligne. C’est pourquoi, il y a un tel intérêt. »

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A Recipe for A Better World; Nine Parts Innovation, One Part Regulation

“To protect the environment, our health, and promote the social good we have to live more austere lives.”

How often have we heard something along these lines? The problem is, it’s not a very effective approach. 

Tackling the world’s most intractable problems, preserving freedoms and making life better for everyone requires something often overlooked by many who are sincerely interested in making the world better. If advocates for austere living promote bleeding heart liberalism, I believe we should stand for bleeding heart market advocacy.

For a better world, we need more innovation.  

True, the world would be better off if there were more generosity and kindness. But technological innovation, usually backed by private investment, is the most important ingredient for a healthier and yes—more enjoyable—planet.

Meatless Choice

I enjoy eating meat. Although I am sympathetic to concerns about the impacts from eating meat, some more valid than others, I’m not willing to become a vegetarian. Some have gone so far as to propose a sin tax on meat to fight climate change. Whether it is animal welfare, the environment, or my own health, a reduction in my consumption of meat would only please other people. And they are out of luck. At least until now.

Patrick Brown, a biochemistry professor at Stanford saw industrial animal agriculture as the top environmental threat. “I started doing the typical misguided academic approach to the problem,” he said in a Pacific Standard Interview  in 2016. The magazine reported that “he organized an A-list 2010 National Research Council workshop in Washington called “The Role of Animal Agriculture in a Sustainable 21st Century Global Food System,’ which caused not a ripple. Not long after, he determined that the only real way to impact meat production would be to beat it in the free market.”  

Brown, now sounding like a mission-driven innovator, rather than a government funded activist, said “All you have to do is make a product that the current consumers … prefer to what they’re getting now. ” He added that “It’s easier to change people’s behavior than to change their minds.”

With seed funding from Bill Gates, Google, and other innovation-oriented investors, Impossible Foods has deployed scientists to develop plant-based meat alternatives meant to appeal not to vegetarians, but to meat-lovers like me. Unlike vege-burgers, which appeal primary to vegetarians, the goal of this new class of alternatives to burgers are meant to appeal to meat eaters. That’s why they‘ve been rolling it out it as a “plant-based meat” in fast food restaurants known for beef burgers.

The innovation has been the target of displeasure from cattle-ranchers, opposition from environmental activists, and, this is hard to believe, outrage from PETA. Leftist food elitists are also furious. Adrionna Fike of the Mandela Grocery Cooperative criticized the company for trying to switch burger lovers at Burger King because “They exploit so many workers  Think about all the migrant workers.” 

Yet the Impossible Burger and other disruptors like Beyond Meat are taking root in the U.S. market. The Food and Drug Administration recently backed the safety of Impossible Foods’ plant-sourced Leghemoglobin. The protein contains heme, also present in real meat, and is partly responsible for the taste, texture and appearance of bloody-good meat.

The burger even cleared another major regulatory hurdle in May, when it was certified kosher by the Orthodox Union.  

Consumers clearly have an appetite for meaty tasting alternatives to livestock products; The company is facing supply shortages as it ramps up production of Version 2.0, sold at fast food outlets including Burger King, even before it becomes available in the meat department at supermarkets later this year. Food behemoth Nestle just joined the feeding frenzy, announcingthe launch of their own plant-based burger in the fall.

While I may not become a vegetarian, the Impossible Burger and its technological offspring increase the likelihood that I’ll reduce my meat consumption, should I so choose. That’s good news for those who think the world will be better off if I ate less meat. This outcome won’t restrict my freedom, rather it gives me – and many like me – more choices. It is important to note that it came about as the result of private-sector innovation, timely government clearance, and no costly, finger-wagging “public education” campaigns.  

Tobacco Harm Reduction

Cigarette smoking remains a top killer around the world. Even in countries with the strictest anti-smoking taxes and regulations, smoking is still a scourge. It turns out that regulations and taxes do little to help addicted smokers quit, yet many in the tobacco control community continue to oppose tobacco harm reducing technologies, instead calling for only technology-killing regulation, as if that were the only tool in their toolbox. 

In fact, innovative products like e-cigarettes and heated tobacco can—and do—help smokers quit smoking, even though they are not without risk. As the U.S. FDA explains it, “nicotine – while highly addictive – is delivered through products that represent a continuum of risk and is most harmful when delivered through smoke particles in combustible cigarettes.”

Yet innovative companies like Juul, who create alternatives to cigarettes, are seen by many in public health as public enemy number one. But it really shouldn’t be so complicated or divisive. 

E-cigarettes are not entirely safe and they should not be used by kids. The FDA and local governments should use the regulatory and enforcement power and budgets they already have to prevent kids from obtaining e-cigarettes.  Schools and parents should use their moral authority to prevent kids from using them. And regulators should foster an environment which encourages innovation to develop a range of enjoyable and less harmful alternatives for adults who wish to use nicotine.

To its credit, the FDA recently authorized the sale of IQOS, a heated tobacco product, finding that the product is “appropriate for the protection of the public health because, among several key considerations, the products produce fewer or lower levels of some toxins than combustible cigarettes.”

Even a leading skeptic of the benefits of e-cigarettes for smoking cessation recently found it necessary to make a major course correction. In a caveat-rich policy statement, the American Cancer Society acknowledged that “switching to the exclusive use of e-cigarettes is preferable to continuing to smoke combustible products.” ACS’s Clinical Recommendations state that the organization supports “any smoker who is considering quitting, no matter what approach they use.”  

ACS now recommends “that clinicians support all attempts to quit the use of combustible tobacco and work with smokers to eventually stop using any tobacco product, including e-cigarettes.” Finally, and rather reasonably, the ACS advises that “these individuals should be encouraged to switch to the least harmful form of tobacco product possible; switching to the exclusive use of e-cigarettes is preferable to continuing smoking combustible products.”  Unfortunately, the science hasn’t gotten down to ACS’s lobbyists, who continue to call for a ban on the e-cigarette flavors adult smokers use to quit.

In the UK, government health officials estimate that e-cigarettes could already be helping at least 20,000 smokers quit annually, and that’s a conservative estimate, they say. 

Professor John Newton, director for health improvement at Public Health England said the government’s review “reinforces the finding that vaping is a fraction of the risk of smoking, at least 95 percent less harmful, and of negligible risk to bystanders.” To those who continue to sow doubt about the difference in risk between cigarettes and e-cigarettes, Professor Newton noted that “it would be tragic if thousands of smokers who could quit with the help of an e-cigarette are being put off due to false fears about their safety.” 

Who are these modern day merchants of doubt?

Big pharma, which makes FDA approved (but largely ineffective) nicotine replacement therapies and smoking cessation drugs has a lot to lose. Companies such as Pfizer and GlaxoSmithKline are major backers of highly-regarded but old-school tobacco control groups including the American Lung Association, the American Heart Association and the American Cancer Society, which regularly lobby to treat e-cigarettes just like cigarettes. 

Tobacco companies who don’t successfully innovate, also have a lot to lose if the cigarette goes the way of the rotary phone. No wonder some back costly regulatory schemes which serve as a barrier to entry to pesky competitors. 

Innovation-Oriented Problem Solving

Disruptive innovation is not only technologically difficult, but as Impossible Foods is learning, bringing game-changing products to market requires overcoming obstacles from entrenched interests. Those interests frequently masquerade as being in the public interest, but are often anything but.  

I recommend we shift our perspective. If we want to solve problems while protecting our enviable lifestyle we should embrace the idea that imaginative solutions, rather than reliance on ever-more restrictive regulations, are our best hope. Appropriately narrow regulation protects safety while also fostering innovation. 

Sometimes well-intentioned, restrictive government interventions are backward-looking problem-solving tools. Too often, they fail to deliver on the promises made to justify their costs, both in terms of unintended consequences and their cost to individual freedoms. Technological advances, however, are solution-oriented and can make real strides against problems that seem otherwise impossible to overcome. And in today’s polarized environment, that’s no nothing-burger. 

* * * 

Jeff Stier is a Senior Fellow at the Consumer Choice Center and a member of the Federalist Society’s Regulatory Transparency Project FDA Working Group.

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San Francisco vape ban embraces harm over science

OPINION by YAËL OSSOWSKI

In an attempt to curb youth vaping, the Board of Supervisors of the city of San Francisco voted yesterday to ban all sales of vaping devices and e-cigarettes. The ban was passed unanimously and will apply to the sales and distribution of e-cigarettes once it has final approval.

The ban was counterproductive and took the approach of endorsing fear over science. The fact remains that San Francisco consumers can still buy tobacco in all forms, but they won’t be allowed to purchase vaping devices and e-cigarettes that are significantly less harmful.

This is increasing potential harm by only making tobacco legal and pushing committed former smokers and current vapors to travel outside the city to buy their vape products, or even worse, create a black market with no regulation and no oversight.

For the truck driver, waitress, or customer service employee who is addicted to nicotine and has found an alternative to smoking cigarettes in vaping products, they will now be denied that choice by the elected San Francisco Board of Supervisors.

The science is clear: vaping is 95 percent less harmful than smoking and gives adults a fighting chance to quit tobacco. Public policy should be aimed at achieving the goal of less smokers, not more.

The focus on youth access to vaping products is a question of enforcement: for that, there needs to be focus on retailers who are selling to minors illegally, not wholemeal bans that will take away the choices of law-abiding adults.

Youth vaping is a concern, but in the pursuit of reducing its likelihood, San Francisco politicians are effectively denying alternative technologies to adult smokers who want to quit. That’s a dark stain on the Golden City.

YAËL OSSOWSKI  is the Deputy Director for the Consumer Choice Center (CCC). The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe, closely monitors regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva and other hotspots of regulation and informs and activates consumers to fight for consumer choice.

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Consumer body challenges US lawmakers over Facebook crypto

A consumer advocacy group has challenged US lawmakers over their threats on Facebook’s new crypto-currency, Libra.

This, after Facebook was summoned to appear before the US Senate Banking Committee over its plans to launch a crypto-currency next year.

On Tuesday, the social media doyen shared plans for Calibra, a newly formed Facebook subsidiary, whose goal is to provide financial services that will let people access and participate in the Libra network.

Just hours after Facebook announced its new Libra crypto-currency project, US federal lawmakers issued warnings to the social media platform, requesting the project be put on ice until lawmakers have had a chance to review it.

In response, consumer advocacy group Consumer Choice Centre’s deputy director Yaël Ossowski says the lawmakers’ threats are harmful to consumer choice, and will ultimately backfire.

“Overseeing regulation on Internet and financial firms is important, but the ‘regulate first, innovate later’ mentality that came in response to Libra should give every Internet user pause. If every new Internet innovation is now subject to kneejerk congressional approval, that sets a dangerous precedent for the future of consumer choice online,” says Ossowski.

“Consumers have the right to choose if they want to use crypto-currencies or social networks, and are aware of the great risks and benefits that go along with that. People want an alternative and they’re interested in new digital tools online. That’s why there is so much interest.”

He notes allowing political figures to freeze future innovations and projects because of temporary partisan politics will keep millions of consumers from being able to enjoy regular goods and services they enjoy online, not to mention being able to connect with thousands of their friends and family online.

“And it won’t stop here. If these threats continue, Bitcoin and dozens of other crypto-currencies, as well as other social media platforms that millions of users have adopted, will also face well-intended but flawed regulation.

“We must have smart regulation that encourages competition, protects privacy and ensures consumer choice. Prior restraint of innovation would be the opposite of that,” Ossowski concludes.

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Political opposition to Facebook’s Libra harms consumer choice and will backfire, warns consumer body

Just hours after Facebook announced its new Libra cryptocurrency project, European politicians issued stark warnings calling for tighter regulation of the platform. Some of the most vocal opponents are French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire and Markus Ferber, a German member of the European Parliament.

In response, Fred Roeder, Managing Director at the Consumer Choice Center, said that “these political threats were harmful to consumer choice, and would ultimately backfire”.

“Overseeing regulation on Internet and financial firms is important, but the ’regulate first, innovate later’ mentality that came in response to Libra should give every Internet user a reason to be concerned. If every new Internet innovation now needs to be approved by lawmakers, that sets a dangerous precedent for the future of consumer choice online,” said Roeder.

Roeder believes that consumers have the right to choose if they want to use cryptocurrencies, or social networks and are aware of the great risks and benefits that go along with that. People want alternatives, especially with new digital tools, which is why there is so much interest from consumers.

“Allowing political figures to freeze future innovations and projects because of temporary partisan politics will keep European consumers from being able to enjoy the goods and services they enjoy online, not to mention being able to connect with thousands of their friends and family online,” he says.

“And it won’t stop here,” he warns. “If these threats continue, Bitcoin and dozens of other cryptocurrencies, as well as other social media platforms that millions of users have adopted, will also face well-intended but flawed regulation.We must have smart regulation that encourages competition, protects privacy, and ensures consumer choice. Prior restraint of innovation would be the opposite of that,” said Roeder.

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I Paesi in via di sviluppo pagano il nostro ambientalismo

L’ambientalismo anti-scientifico e pauperistico rischia di danneggiare i Paesi in via di sviluppo

Per quelli di noi che possono permettersi di avere un termostato intelligente, che regola la temperatura in base alla temperatura esterna, è una grande comodità. Ma ha un costo. La protezione e lo sviluppo ambientale sono, indubbiamente, una causa giusta e nobile che però ha un costo.

Dopotutto, attraverso i cambiamenti negli atteggiamenti dei consumatori, le più recenti innovazioni sono diventate più sicure, più sostenibili e in generale più “verdi”. È quello che spinge i supermercati a scambiare i loro sacchetti di plastica per quelli di carta, e per nuovi prodotti come cannucce di metallo e bottiglie di bevande per diventare vitali.

Purtroppo, questo meraviglioso sentimento condiviso da un numero crescente di consumatori non si traduce altrettanto bene nel mondo della politica. La bellezza dell’innovazione orientata al consumatore è che si tratta di un processo naturale: i consumatori acquistano verde sia perché lo vogliono e perché possono permetterselo. Mettere lo stesso principio in politica spesso trascura questo passaggio cruciale.

L’atteggiamento della politica rischia di scaricare gli effetti negativi soprattutto sui Paesi in via di sviluppo. I paesi avanzati con buone intenzioni ignorano i bisogni e le capacità delle nazioni più povere nel nome dell’ambientalismo.

Prendiamo, ad esempio, un imminente conferenza in Kenya, tenuta congiuntamente dall’Organizzazione delle Nazioni Unite per l’alimentazione e l’agricoltura (FAO) e dal Centro mondiale di conservazione degli alimenti. La “Prima conferenza internazionale sull’agroecologia che trasforma l’agricoltura e i sistemi alimentari in Africa” ​​mira ad attuare le politiche dell ‘”Agroecologia” in tutto il continente.

L’agroecologia propagandata dalla conferenza si riferisce a uno stile di agricoltura più “organico”, uno che è libero (o, almeno, meno dipendente) dai fertilizzanti sintetici e dai pesticidi. Di per sé, questa può sembrare una missione piuttosto nobile; se tali sostanze sono dannose per l’ambiente, perché non dovremmo voler ridurre il loro utilizzo?

Bene, in nazioni sviluppate come la nostra, questa sarebbe la reazione giusta. Il nostro settore agricolo, così come la nostra capacità di importare da altre nazioni, ci consente il lusso di chiedere riduzioni di tali pratiche agricole senza troppa preoccupazione per gli effetti sulla nostra offerta di cibo. Dopo tutto, se optare per l’opzione “organica” rappresenta qualche quid in più ogni settimana, qual è il problema?

In molte parti dell’Africa, dove questa conferenza si tiene, questo lusso purtroppo non esiste. Non dovrebbe sorprendere che i metodi di agricoltura agroecologica siano, in genere, molto meno efficienti rispetto alla moderna alternativa meccanizzata (una conclusione raggiunta in uno studio condotto da sostenitori agrocologici). In un continente che è stato a lungo afflitto da una scarsa crescita economica e, molto più gravemente, gravi carestie e scarsità di cibo, il rischio di passare a metodi meno produttivi in ​​nome dell’ambiente sarebbe cieco alle necessità di un’economia in via di sviluppo .

Visto semplicemente, si potrebbe facilmente etichettare questa visione del mondo e la prescrizione come arrogante. Se le persone nei paesi sviluppati (o altrove per quella materia) desiderano stabilire una fattoria biologica e agroecologica per promuovere un sistema più rispettoso dell’ambiente, allora hanno più potere per loro. Ma semplicemente non possiamo aspettarci che questo si applichi ai paesi in via di sviluppo come quelli in Africa.

La realizzazione di pratiche e tecnologie sostenibili e rispettose dell’ambiente nei paesi in via di sviluppo dovrebbe essere raggiunta attraverso maggiori investimenti e commercio, stimolando la crescita economica e lo sviluppo. A seguito della Brexit, il Regno Unito si troverà in una posizione ideale per farlo senza le restrizioni della politica agricola comune dell’UE, che ha reso ancora più difficile il commercio con gli agricoltori dei paesi in via di sviluppo.

I cuori degli ambientalisti sono certamente nel posto giusto, ma suggerimenti come quelli della prossima conferenza di agroecologia minacciano di negare alle economie in via di sviluppo le possibilità di crescita e sviluppo di cui hanno disperatamente bisogno. Investiamo in questi paesi e lasciamo che le innovazioni si scatenino mentre le loro economie migliorano.

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